Shedding the Cocoon

Gulf Frit on orange zinnia

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” Richard Bach (from The Painter’s Keys)

Change happens to everybody sooner or later, some planned, some unplanned. Planned changes in art take care and timing. It sounds easy but isn’t always. People get used to a certain style from an artist and may not accept a change. Change may mean learning new materials and techniques. But the artist may be at a dead end and realizes change is the only way to get out of the corner. To continue on the same path leaves the art, flat and lifeless, dead as a doornail. What’s an artist to do? Keep making dead doornail art at a dead end or move into an exciting new direction?

Only the individual can know what direction is the best for each circumstance. But if change is inevitable, some considerations can make the transition easier. First, know the consequences of staying in the same place or changing to a new and different direction. It helps to outline the points, one by one. Second, look at what the possible new directions can mean to time, supplies, and other logistics.   A new direction may change the materials adding a cost factor and learning curve to the equation. Make a list of costs, supplies and time for learning. And lastly, who will be the new customer base? The old base may not like the new direction creating the need for new marketing to a new base. Make list of ways to market for a new base.

Another way to make a change is to tear up those lists you just made into tiny little pieces. Take those pieces up to a tall building and throw them off. Or put them on the grill and set fire to them. You could also flush them away. Now that you have disposed of your new direction lists, what’s next? Take a leap of faith and dive right in. What do you have to lose? Well other than time, money and customers. How about stagnation? Getting rid of stagnation is worth losing all that other stuff. What’s life without a few risks? That’s where the fun is. Go ahead. Shed the cocoon and fly. You know you want too. Besides, what is a dead doornail, anyway

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